Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) received a big blow as wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings has opted out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season. The English player says he wants to focus on playing a longer format cricket for Kent and England. Billings shared a heartfelt Instagram post wherein he thanked KKR for all the memories. The wicketkeeper-batter also said he hopes to play for the team soon.
With Billings not playing IPL 2023, KKR has lost a genuine power-hitter and a wicketkeeper-batter. Apart from Billings, Sheldon Jackson is the only other designated wicketkeeper in the squad. KKR have retained Jackson, but they would like to add one more player to that list when the IPL mini-auction takes place on December 23 in Kochi.
While Billings could not do much impact with the bat in hand, he scored his runs at a strike rate of 150 plus. Jackson was not given enough chances with the gloves in hand. With Billings no more part of IPL 2023, Jackson is KKR’s first-choice wicketkeeper. KKR has retained nine players from IPL 2022 season.
IPL 2023: Who will KKR likely target in place of Sam Billings?
A wicketkeeper-batter, who is as dynamic as Billings is what KKR would likely target. KKR will keep a tab on quite a few Indian players who impressed in SMAT 2022. The likes of Ankush Bains & Harvik Desai can potentially go for big bucks in the IPL mini-auction. Few foreign wicketkeepers’ batters like Josh Philippe, Kusal Mendis, & Matthew Wade could also fetch big amounts.
Retained Players: Shreyas Iyer, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana, Sheldon Jackson, Rinku Singh, Umesh Yadav
Possible Released Players: Shivam Mavi, Mohammad Nabi, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Aaron Finch